Session Proposal: Linked Open Data

This is a session that might go well with Richard Urban’s session on the Digital Public Library. I’m becoming more and more interested in the challenges and opportunities surrounding linked open data. For those of you who don’t know, LOD is a feature of the semantic web that allows different datasets to share resources. On a larger scale, LOD is a movement designed to revolutionize scholarship by producing big data that could lead to conclusions that are impossible with single datasets alone. I talk a little about the implications of LOD in my post “DH, Archival Silence, and Linked Open Data.” Tim Berners-Lee also discusses LOD as the future of the web, John Voss has a wonderful lecture on the use of LOD in museums and archives, and Eric Rochester has a great talk about LOD at Scholar’s Lab. Voss explains LOD’s power as allowing users to engage in advanced queries across institutions.

Besides projects like DBpedia, LOD is used in HistoryPin, Conflict History, Geonames, and Taxonconcept. The LOD-LAM group (linked open data for libraries and museums) mentions 4 benefits of LOD.

  1. Driving users to your online content (e.g., by improved search engine optimization).
  2. Enabling new scholarship that can only be done with open data.
  3. Allowing for the creation of new services for discovery.
  4. Stimulating collaboration in the library, archives, and museums world and beyond.

Of course, most of this is still very abstract and people working with LOD really don’t know how it could benefit us in the future. I am fascinated by the idea that LOD rethinks the web as not a collection of texts, but as a collection of data – and the way this can change scholarship, teaching, and archiving. But I’m also just throwing the idea of LOD out there to see what my fellow THATCampers can come up with. 🙂

Categories: General |

About Roger Whitson

I graduated in 2008 with a Ph.D. in English at the University of Florida. Since then, I held a Brittain Fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at Emory University's Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC), and finally, as an Assistant Professor of 19th Century British and Anglophone Literature at Washington State University. I'm primarily interested in scholarly publishing and social media, especially the ways they connect with the teaching and scholarship of Romantic British poet/artist William Blake. I'm also really interested in visual rhetoric, multimodal composition, digital pedagogy, and comics and graphic novels. I have a HUGE passion for THATCamp, having attended SE last March, Prime in June, and Pedagogy in October. I also wrote a little bit on "Why I Love THATCamp" (

2 Responses to Session Proposal: Linked Open Data

  1. Roger, I’m interested in this too, but still don’t feel like I have a good handle on LOD. Could we draw pictures to make it make sense? I think THATCamp needs to embrace mind-mapping as a session collecting tool.

  2. richardurban says:

    Certainly willing to take a crack at it, although lately I’ve been steeped in the details. I think this kind of translation work between the theory behind LOD approaches and practical solutions (and cutting through the hype) is one of the challenges I have ahead of me.

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